A rebound on the cards in 2021 or 2022? If so, what shape of recovery
will it take?

Text & Photography by Jan Yong

This is a story of hoping against hope – meaning hoping very strongly that something will happen, although you know it is not likely. And what is that hope? An effective, proven and safe vaccine against Coronavirus as soon as practicable; reduction of new Covid-19 cases and deaths; and emergence of green zones around the world.

For as long as a vaccine is not created yet, that’s how long it’s going to take for any meaningful recovery to take place.

The writing seems to be on the wall – on October 1st and 2nd, the number of new Covid-19 cases hit 260 and 287, respectively in Malaysia, a triple digit number which if it continues in the days ahead, would trigger another lockdown or better known in Malaysia as Movement Control Order (MCO).

So far, Malaysia’s recovery from the pandemic has looked very promising indeed – with single digit number of new infections and even zero infection on some days. But if the rest of the world is experiencing a second wave or in some cases, the numbers continue to climb like in the United States, India and Brazil, then our borders will remain closed.

On September 7th, Malaysia officially announced the ban of nationals from 23 countries that have reported more than 150,000 Covid-19 cases. Prior to that, the government has extended the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) to 31st December.

At the same time, the 6-month moratorium on loan repayments will be ending on September 30th with no hint of any extension or stimulus packages to soften the blow.

The brutal truth is that there won’t be any real recovery story until the pandemic is almost over or a proven vaccine is found. Until then, all of us are hoping against hope. Borders will remain closed and our economic recovery will stall as foreign investments into the country slow down.

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